9/10 K-State Hosts TCU on Senior Night Tuesday

Senior Rodney McGruder, along with Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving, will play their final game in Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.

March 5, 2013

Game Notes  |  Live Stats  |  Live Audio  |  ESPN3 
Big 12 Network Clearances

Game 30

9/10 Kansas State (24-5, 13-3 Big 12) vs. TCU (10-19, 1-15 Big 12)
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 * 7:05 p.m. CT
Manhattan, Kan. * Bramlage Coliseum (12,528)

Television: Big 12 Network (ESPN Full Court)
Dave Armstrong (play-by-play); Rich Zvosec (analyst)
Channels: KMCI (Kansas City), KMTW (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)
Internet: www.ESPN3.com and WatchESPN

Radio: K-State Sports Network

Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play); Stan Weber (analyst)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 113/XM 194 (home broadcast)

Live Stats: http://www.kstatesports.com/multimedia/ksu-gt-live-stats.html
Live Audio: http://www.k-statesports.com/allaccess (free)
Twitter Updates: twitter.com/kstate_gameday

vs. Big 12: K-State trails 449-452 (246-162 at home)
vs. TCU: K-State leads 4-2 (2-1 at home)
Last Meeting: K-State won 67-54 (1/16/2013 in Fort Worth)

9/10 Kansas State (24-5, 13-3 Big 12)
Head coach: Bruce Weber (Wisconsin-Milwaukee ‘78)
School Record: 24-5 (1st season)  * Career Record: 337-160 (15th season)  * vs. TCU: 1-0

TCU (10-19, 1-15 Big 12)
Head coach: Trent Johnson (Boise State ‘86)
School Record: 10-19 (1st season)  * Career Record: 236-204 (14th season)  * vs. K-State: 0-1

No. 9/10 Kansas State (24-5, 13-3 Big 12) will celebrate the accomplishments of its three-man senior class on Tuesday night, as the Wildcats conclude their home schedule by hosting TCU (10-19, 1-15 Big 12) at 7 p.m.   The trio of seniors Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder - already the winningest senior class in school history with 98 victories - will be honored in pre-game ceremonies, along with four senior managers.  The game will be broadcast regionally on the Big 12 Network with Dave Armstrong (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst) on the call.  After its thrilling 64-61 win at Baylor on Saturday, K-State remains in a tie for first place with No. 4/3 Kansas (25-4) with a 13-3 league record, just one game ahead of No. 13/14 Oklahoma State (22-6), which sits in third place with a 12-4 mark, with two games left in the regular season.  All three teams have already clinched a bye to the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, which is set for March 13-16 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.  The win over the Bears not only kept the Wildcats in the Big 12 title race, it made Bruce Weber the winningest first-year head coach in school history, eclipsing Bob Huggins’ 23 wins in 2006-07, and helped the school post 13 league victories for just the third time in school history (first since 1960-61) and the first time in the Big 12 era.  K-State will look to wrap up the home schedule on a high note, as a win against TCU would tie the 2008-09 and 2010-11 teams for the most wins (16) at Bramlage Coliseum and the 2010-11 squad for the highest home winning percentage (16-1, .941) in school history.

Tuesday’s contest will be the seventh of eight games on the Big 12 Network.  The league television package can be seen locally on KMCI-TV in Kansas City, KMTW-TV in Wichita and KSNT-TV in Topeka.  The game can also seen in the Big 12 region on KTXA-TV in Dallas, KTVI-TV in St. Louis, KOCB-TV in Oklahoma City, KMYT-TV in Tulsa, WOI-TV in Des Moines, KPTM-TV in Omaha, KUBE-TV in Houston and KCWX-TV in San Antonio.  All games on the Big 12 Network can be found on ESPN Full Court as well as ESPN3.com.

K-State owns a 9-0 record against Texas-based schools (Baylor, Lamar, TCU, Texas, Texas Southern, Texas Tech) in 2012-13 with one more try remaining in the regular season against TCU on Tuesday.  The Wildcats have won these nine games by an average of 15 points, including sweeps of Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech.  In its seven Big 12 games, K-State has won games by 13, 26, nine, 20, 12, 20 and two points over Texas schools, including a 67-54 win over TCU on Jan. 16.    

K-State moved four spots to No. 9 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll and three spots to No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll on Monday.  It marked the 11th straight week that the Wildcats have been ranked in the AP poll and ninth consecutive week the team has been ranked in both polls.  The No. 9 ranking is the highest in the AP poll since placing No. 6 on Dec. 13, 2010, while it is the first time this season that the team has been in both polls’  Top 10.  K-State is 253-94 (.729) all-time as a ranked team.  

THE Opponent
TCU (10-19, 1-15 Big 12) enters Tuesday’s game on a seven-game losing streak after dropping a 72-63 decision at Texas Tech on Saturday.  The Horned Frogs are averaging 54 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 29.6 percent from 3-point range, while holding opponents to 61.6 points on 44.2 percent shooting, including 34.1 percent from beyond the arc.  Sophomore guard Kyan Anderson leads the team in five categories, including scoring (11.6 ppg.), 3-pointers (47), assists (3.3 apg.) and steals (1.4 spg.).
Head coach Trent Johnson has a 236-204 record in his 14th season as a coach, including a 10-19 mark in his first season at TCU.

LAST MEETING: 16/18 KANSAS STATE 67, TCU 54 [JAN. 16, 2013]
Rodney McGruder collected a game-high 21 points, as No. 16/18 K-State earned a 67-54 win over TCU in the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 16 at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.  The Wildcats climbed out of an early 10-5 deficit with an 8-0 run and never trailed the rest of the way.  The team connected on 48.2 percent from the field, including a season-best 52.9 percent from 3-point range, and posted 20 points off of 12 TCU turnovers.  Fellow seniors Jordan Henriquez and Martavious Irving both scored eight points.

This will be seventh meeting between K-State and TCU with the Wildcats holding a 4-2 lead in a series that dates back to 1947.  The Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings, while they have won two of the three meetings in Manhattan.    

--Kansas State’s 24 wins tie five other teams for the fifth-most in a single-season in school history with only four others posting 25 or more wins.  The 24-5 start ties the 2009-10 squad for the second-best start in school history after 29 games and trails the 1950-51 team (25-4) for the best start.  It is the 26th 20-win season in school history, including a school-record seventh consecutive 20-win season.  The 13 wins in Big 12 play are the most since the league’s inception and just the third time (1958-59 and 1960-61) in school history that a team has posted at least 13 league wins and the first time in more than 50 years.  The Wildcats now have 10+ wins in conference play six times in the last seven seasons.  Four of the five losses have been to teams (Gonzaga, Kansas and Michigan) ranked No. 1 in either the AP or the Coaches’ poll at some point this year. The team won double-digit non-conference games for the seventh straight season, including its first regular-season Top 10 non-conference win (No. 8 Florida) since 1981.

--Bruce Weber’s 24-5 record is the second-best start by a first-year K-State head coach in its 109-year history with only Zora Clevenger (15-2, 1916-17) posting a mark.  Weber’s 24 wins are the most by a first-year head coach, while he is just the fourth to win 20 games in his first year, joining Bob Huggins (23, 2006-07), Frank Martin (21, 2007-08) and Lon Kruger (20, 1986-87).  His eight-game winning streak (Dec. 18, 2012-Jan. 19, 2013) was the second-longest by a first-year head coach and the longest since Clevenger’s 1916-17 squad ended the year with 13 straight wins.  His 13 Big 12 wins are also the most by first-year head coach.

--K-State is enjoying an outstanding 2012-13 athletics season, as the Wildcats have one of the best records (49-22, .690) among BCS schools when combining its football and men’s and women’s basketball teams.  The school, which won the Big 12 title in football in 2012 for just the second time, is one of 29 teams (along with Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State) with 45+ combined wins among its three major sports.  Only twice in Big 12 history (Oklahoma, 2004-05 and Texas, 2005-06) has a school won the conference title in both football and men’s basketball in the same academic year, while K-State is one of three schools (Florida and Louisville) to finish in the Top 15 in football (12th) and currently rank in Top 15 in men’s basketball.  

--K-State has built a solid resume, as the Wildcats boast a No. 18 RPI in the latest ESPN rankings.  The team is one of six Big 12 schools in the Top 65 of the RPI, including Kansas (4), Oklahoma (22), Oklahoma State (27), Iowa State (53) and Baylor (61). 

--The three-man senior class of Jordan Henriquez, Martavious Irving and Rodney McGruder became the winningest class in school history on Monday vs. Texas Tech, earning its 98th victory.  The trio currently boasts a 98-35 (.737) record during their careers, which is two more than the 2011-12 class (Victor Ojeleye and Jamar Samuels) for the most wins by a class. They are the fourth straight class to tally 90 or more wins in their career, while they are attempting to become just the second in school history (1989-90) to advance to the NCAA Tournament in four straight seasons.  The three seniors will all finish in Top 10 of the career games played list, as McGruder (129) is third, Irving (124) is fifth and Henriquez (120) is tied for ninth. 

--17 of K-State’s 28 games have been at home (including a home game vs. No. 8/9 Florida in Kansas City’s Sprint Center), where the Wildcats have won 17 of their last 18 home games, including 16 of 17 at Bramlage Coliseum.  The Texas Tech win on Feb. 25 gave the school 300 victories in the arena’s 25-year history, while a win against TCU would tie the 2008-09 and 2010-11 teams for the most home wins (16) and the 2010-11 squad for the highest home winning percentage (16-1, .941) in school history.  The team’s 12-game home winning streak and 11-game streak at Bramlage ended in a loss to No. 3/2 Kansas on Jan. 22.    

--K-State is 7-2 in road games this season, winning at George Washington (65-62), West Virginia (65-64), TCU (67-54), Oklahoma (52-50), Texas Tech (68-59), Texas (81-69) and Baylor (64-61) to go with losses at Iowa State (73-67) and Kansas (83-62).  The seven road wins tie the 2009-10 team for the most in the Big 12 era and the most since the 1987-88 squad won eight, while the six in league play also tie the 2009-10 team for the most in the Big 12 era.  The loss at ISU snapped the Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in road games, including five-game streak in Big 12 play, which dated back to last season and was the longest since 2010.  The Wildcats have improved their play on the road in the Big 12, posting a 30-26 record over the past seven seasons (which began in 2006-07) after winning just 10 of 80 road games in the league’s first 10 years (1997-2006).

--K-State received its first national ranking of the season on Dec. 24, appearing at No. 25 in the AP Top 25, and earned its best ranking at No. 9 on Monday.  The No. 9 ranking is the highest since checking in at No. 6 on Dec. 13, 2010.  The Wildcats are also a  season-best No. 10 in the latest USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll, which marked the ninth straight week the team has been ranked in both polls.  The Wildcats have a 253-94 (.729) record as a ranked team since first being ranked in 1949-50.

--K-State concluded February with a 7-1 mark, tying Oklahoma State for the best record in the Big 12, and continued its trend of playing well in the month in the last five years, where the Wildcats are 32-7 (.821) since 2008-09, including 17-3 at home. 

--K-State ranks in the Top 50 in six categories, including 12th in assists, 17th in assist-to-turnover ratio, 28th in offensive rebounds, 32nd in scoring defense, 37th in scoring margin and 48th in turnover margin.  The team places first in the Big 12 in scoring defense, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio and rebounding defense, second in turnover margin and offensive rebounds and third in 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage.  In Big 12-only games, the Wildcats rank first in scoring defense, field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage, rebounding defense, assists, turnover margin and assist-to-turnover ratio.
--The Feb. 18 meeting with West Virginia marked the 12th time K-State has faced a former head coach (Tex Winter, Lon Kruger and Bob Huggins) with the Wildcats winning five (including four this season) of those occurrences.  Prior to 2013, the last victory over a former coach came in a 95-80 win over Kruger’s UNLV squad on Dec. 12, 2009.  K-State lost twice to Winter (Washington in 1971 and LBSU in 1978), while the Wildcats are now 4-4 vs. Kruger and 2-1 vs. Huggins (2011, 2013).  Interestingly enough, the Wildcats are 6-0 vs. coaches prior to them coming to K-State, going 1-0 vs. Winter at Marquette (1953), 3-0 vs. Jack Hartman at Southern Illinois (1964, 1968 and 1969), 1-0 vs. Kruger at Texas-Pan American (1986) and 1-0 vs. Huggins at Akron (1988).  

--The 67-61 win over No. 8/9 Florida in the Hy-Vee Wildcat Classic on Dec. 22 was the first regular-season, non-conference Top 10 victory since knocking off No. 8 Minnesota at home, 62-52, on Dec. 21, 1981.  Overall, it was the 12th non-conference Top 10 win (and first since defeating No. 3 Purdue, 73-70, in the 1988 NCAA Tournament), including the seventh in the regular season. 

--K-State had a tremendous semester in the classroom, as the team had a cumulative 2.839 GPA (the highest in 12 years) during the Fall 2012 semester.  A program-best eight players - Adrian Diaz, Rodney McGruder, Angel Rodriguez, Brian Rohleder, Ryan Schultz, Shane Southwell, Will Spradling and Nino Williams - were named to the Fall Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll on Jan. 9.  McGruder (first team) and Spradling (second team) were selected to the Academic All-Big 12 Teams.

K-State has proven to be a balanced team across the board with eight players averaging four or more points, including just two in double figures, and five averaging three or more rebounds per game.  Senior Rodney McGruder (14.9 ppg., 5th in Big 12) and sophomore Angel Rodriguez (11.2 ppg., 19th in Big 12) are the only Wildcats averaging in double figures, while three others - Will Spradling (8.3 ppg.), Shane Southwell (8.1 ppg.) and Thomas Gipson (8.0 ppg.) - are averaging better than eight points per contest.  The team has seen 10 players collect 87 double-digit scoring games with McGruder (23) leading the way, while the squad has eight players with 45+ field goals made with McGruder’s 162 the second-most of any player in the Big 12.  K-State is the only Big 12 school with eight players with 45+ made field goals and five players with 20+ 3-pointers, while Baylor is the only other league school with 10 players with double-digit scoring efforts.  The squad is 21-1 this season when scoring 65 or more points in a game, including 14-0 when scoring more than 70.  In all, the Wildcats have had six players lead or share the lead in scoring led by McGruder (14). McGruder and Gipson tie for rebounding lead at 5.4 per game, while Jordan Henriquez (4.8 rpg.) also averages better than four rebounds per game.  The team has seen eight players either lead or share the lead in rebounding with Gipson, Henriquez and McGruder leading the way in seven games apiece.

The Wildcats have also been diverse in other categories, including seven players with 10+ assists and eight with 10+ steals. 
Rodriguez has dished out a team-best 143 assists (96 in Big 12 play) with six players either leading or sharing the lead in assists.  Rodriguez also has a team-high 41 steals (31 in Big 12 play), while eight have either led or shared the lead in steals.  Four players -- McGruder (32.4 mpg.), Spradling (28.9), Rodriguez (26.8) and Southwell (24.6) -- are averaging more than 20 minutes, while five others are averaging 10+ minutes.  Seven players have at least one start with McGruder and Spradling starting all 29. 

The switch to a four-guard lineup has proved to be a pivotal decision by Bruce Weber, as the Wildcats are averaging 68.9 points on 45.5 percent shooting, including 37.7 percent from 3-point range, since making the change 20 games ago.  The squad has posted a 17-3 mark in that span, including victories over No. 8/9 Florida, No. 22/21 Oklahoma State, Oklahoma (twice), Iowa State and Baylor (twice).  Although the team scored nearly 71 points in their first nine games (before the switch), they are shooting nearly five percent higher from the field (45.5 from 40.8), four percent higher from 3-point range (37.7 from 33.3) and posting more 3-pointers (6.9 from 6.0), while dishing out more assists (16.6 from 15.6) and producing fewer turnovers (11.5 from 12.8) in the last 20 games.  K-State has connected on better than 45 percent from the field in 12 of those games, including 50 percent or better on seven occasions, while shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range in 10 games.  Rodney McGruder is averaging four more points per game (16.3 from 11.9) on nearly 10 percent higher field goal percentage (47.2 from 37.8) in the last 20 games, while Shane Southwell has improved his average from 6.3 points in first nine to 8.8 points in the same span.

K-State has found more of an offensive rhythm in Big 12 play, where the Wildcats lead the league in field goal percentage (45.6), 3-point field goal percentage (39.0) and assists (16.6) and second in 3-point field goals made (7.5).  The squad has connected on 45 percent or better from the field in 10 league games, including better than 50 percent against West Virginia (twice), Iowa State (twice) and Texas Tech.  The team has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range in nine league games with 9+ 3-point makes in six contests, including 11 vs. Baylor on Feb. 16.  Rodney McGruder ranks fifth in Big 12 games in scoring (15.9 ppg.), seventh in field goal percentage (47.4), ninth in 3-point field goal percentage (37.8) and free throw percentage (74.6) and 12th in 3-point field goals made (1.8), while Angel Rodriguez is second in league-only contests in assists (6.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5) and steals (1.9), third in free throw percentage (83.6),14th in scoring (11.9 ppg.) and 15th in 3-point field goals (1.5).  Shane Southwell ranks in the Top 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (43.9, 4th) and makes (1.8, 10th).

K-State has been solid protecting the ball, as the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and second in turnover margin (+2.6).  Thus far, the squad has produced a Big 12-low 11.9 turnovers per game, while forcing its foes into an average of 14.4 turnovers (third-most in the Big 12).  The team has 14 or fewer miscues in 22 games, including a season-low six on three occasions, while they have forced their foes into 18+ turnovers seven times, including a season-high 26 by Lamar. 

Seven Wildcats have posted an even or positive assist-to-turnover ratio this season, including its four primary ball-handlers (Angel Rodriguez, Martavious Irving, Shane Southwell and Will Spradling) combining for 346 assists to 156 turnovers (2.2 ratio).  The current ratio for the quartet is a solid improvement after posting a 1.4 ratio (302 assists to 211 turnovers) as a group in 2011-12.  Rodriguez (2.3) ranks first in the Big 12 and 44th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio, while Spradling’s team-best ratio (2.5) is outside the minimums to rank.  Spradling, who has 75 assists to 30 turnovers, led the squad with a 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio a season ago, while Rodriguez has made a notable improvement (143 assists to 62 turnovers) in the area after posting a 1.2 ratio (101 assists to 85 turnovers) as a freshman.  Irving has also drastically improved his ratio (1.9 from 1.5) with 57 assists to 30 turnovers, while Southwell has a solid 2.1 ratio (71 assists to 34 turnovers) after posting a 1.6 ratio last year.

Adding to the K-State’s balanced attack is the production from its bench, where the Wildcats are averaging 21.2 points, including a 616-481 edge over foes.  The team has collected at least 20 points from its bench in 15 games, including a season-high 45 points vs. North Dakota on Nov. 9 and Texas on Jan. 30.  Reserves have scored nearly half of the team’s points five times with Thomas Gipson posting the scoring lead vs. North Dakota (13), Delaware (12) and Texas (17), while Shane Southwell had a game-high 16 points vs. UAH and Nino Willams tallied a career-high 17 points vs. No. 22/21 Oklahoma State.  The rebounding leader has come from the bench in 10 games with Gipson posting team-highs vs. Delaware (6), Texas (7) and Iowa State (7).  In an eight-game stretch from Jan. 30 to Feb. 23, Gipson averaged 9.8 points on 57.9 percent shooting with 4.6 rebounds in 19.4 minutes per game before starting vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 25.  In the last 10 games, Martavious Irving has also provided a lift from the bench, averaging 5.7 points on 41.7 percent, including 54.2 percent from 3-point range, in 20.1 minutes per game.

K-State is averaging 18.1 personal fouls per game this season, including 19.5 per game in its 16 Big 12 games.  Opponents have knocked down 354 free throws in 532 attempts, an average of 12.2 makes per game, with the Wildcats countering with 368 makes on 533 attempts for an average of 12.7 makes per game.  The 16 Big 12 opponents have combined to shoot 67 more free throws than K-State (327 to 260), while scoring 218 points (13.6 FT/m) to just 190 (11.9 FT/m) for the Wildcats from the line.

K-State has continued to be one of the nation’s best defensive teams, ranking 32nd in scoring defense (59.7), 48th in turnover margin (+2.5) and 59th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (31.1).  In all, the Wildcats rank either first, second or third in five Big 12 defensive categories, including first in scoring defense and rebounding defense, second in turnover margin and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin. The team is sixth in field goal percentage defense.

The 1,732 points surrendered through 29 games are the fewest in the shot clock era (1985-86) and the fewest since the 1982-83 squad allowed just 1,635 points (58.4 ppg.) through its 28-game schedule.  The current 59.7 points per game scoring average is the fourth-lowest since 1953 behind the 1981-82 (58.0),1982-83 (58.4) and1980-81 (59.4) squads.  The Wildcats have held 21 opponents to 65 points or less, including 10 to 55 points or less, while nine have been held under 40 percent shooting from the field and nine to 25 percent or less shooting from 3-point range.  The defensive effort has been even better in the first half, as the Wildcats are holding its 29 opponents to just 26.6 points on 39.6 percent shooting, including 30 percent from 3-point range.  They have held six opponents to 20 points or less in the first half.  The team’s defense was nearly historic in the 87-26 win over Alabama-Huntsville on Nov. 13, as the 26 points allowed were one shy of the Bramlage Coliseum record of 25 set against Savannah State on Jan. 7, 2008.  The Chargers’ 16.4 field goal percentage was only surpassed by Savannah State’s 15.5 percentage.

A trademark of Frank Martin-coached teams were their ability to score points off of opponent’s mistakes and Bruce Weber has continued that legacy.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 483-341 (an average of 16.7 points per game), through 29 games in points off of turnovers.  The squad has posted 10 or more points off of miscues in 24 of 29 games, including 20 or more points on eight occasions, with a season-best 34 vs. Lamar on Nov. 12.  The team has out-scored its 16 Big 12 foes, 280-187 (average of 17.5 points per game), in points off of turnovers, including 20+ points in wins over TCU, Oklahoma, Baylor and Texas Tech and a near season-best 33-point effort vs. Texas on Jan. 30.  They are 18-1 when scoring more points off of turnovers.  The Wildcats are out-scoring their opponents, 429-267 (average of 17.9 points per game), in points off of turnovers in their 24 victories, while are being outscored 74-54 (an average of 10.8 points per game) in points off of turnovers in their five losses.  

K-State is forcing its opponents into 14.4 turnovers per game (third-most in the Big 12), including a season-high 26 by Lamar, while turning the ball a Big 12-low 11.9 times per game.  The 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 17th and first in the Big 12 with Angel Rodriguez boasting the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio and ranking 44th nationally.  In Martin’s five seasons, the Wildcats averaged 18.2 points per game off of turnovers.  Nearly 25 percent of the points scored from 2007-12 came off of offense generated from miscues.  The school has scored 500 or more points off of opponent turnovers in six straight seasons.

Although they have dropped games to No. 3/2 Kansas and Iowa State by a combined 10 points, the Wildcats have been successful in close games this season, posting a 13-2 record in games decided by 10 points or less and a 7-2 mark in games decided by six points or less, including seven Big 12 wins. Angel Rodriguez, who knocked down the game-winning free throws in the last five seconds in the win at Oklahoma on Feb. 2 and was 6-of-6 in the last 2:24 in the win over Iowa State on Feb. 9, paces the team in free throws (31), attempted (34) and percentage (91.2) in the last five minutes of games. Will Spradling, who is also impressive from the line in clutch situations (21-of-26 in the last five minutes this season and 79-of-96 for his career), went a combined 10-of-10 from the line in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern. Rodney McGruder (14-of-17) and Shane Southwell (8-of-10) have all been solid from the line in the last five minutes of games.  In the 65-64 win over West Virginia on Jan. 12, Southwell knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds and also blocked the game-winning shot with one second left.  With the score tied at 50-all at Oklahoma, Rodriguez knocked down a pair of game-winning free throws with 5.6 seconds left.  McGruder hit the game-winning 3-pointer with one second left in a 64-61 win at Baylor on Saturday.  

Rebounding had been a source of strength earlier in the season, but has now become more of a concern since the start of Big 12 play, where K-State ranks sixth in offensive rebounds (10.9) and rebounding margin (+0.4) and eighth in rebounding (31.5) and defensive boards (20.6).  Since switching to a four-guard line-up 20 games ago, the team is averaging 32.8 rebounds, including 11.4 offensive rebounds, with opponents posting 30.5 rebounds, including 10.4 offensive rebounds.  In the first nine games, they averaged 42.6 rebounds, including 18.2 offensive rebounds, while its foes posted 34.1 rebounds, including 11.3 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats out-scored opponents, 153-99 (+54), in second chance points in its first nine games, while they own a 214-213 (+1) edge in second chance points in the last 20 games, including a 19-4 advantage vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 25.  In its three league losses, K-State has been out-rebounded by 32 (111-79) and allowed 32 more (46-14) second-chance points.  In contrast, in its 13 league wins, the squad has posted a +39 rebounding edge (425-386) and posted 32 more (156-124) second-chance points.

K-State still boasts solid overall rebounding numbers, where it ranks second in offensive rebounds (13.5), third in rebounding margin (+4.2) and eighth in rebounding (35.9).  Overall, the Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by a 1040-917 margin, including 392-311 on the offensive end.  The team is 19-0 this year when out-rebounding its opponent, but just 5-5 when it is out-rebounded.  K-State has at least 10 offensive rebounds in 24 games with a season-high 29 against North Florida on Nov. 18.   

Senior Rodney McGruder (1,461 points & 619 rebounds) recently became just the second player in K-State history to rank in the Top 10 in both career scoring (eighth) and rebounding (ninth), joining two-time consensus All-American Bob Boozer, whose 824 rebounds rank fourth all-time and his 1,685 points rank fifth.  He is just the eighth player to top 1,400 points in a career and one of just three players in school history with at least 1,400 points and 600 rebounds in a career, joining Rolando Blackman (1,844 points & 607 rebounds) and Bob Boozer (1,685 points & 824 rebounds).  He became the first Wildcat player in school history to collect 1,400 points, 600 rebounds, 150 assists and 100 steals in a career against West Virginia on Feb. 18.

McGruder ranks in the Top 10 of 14 career categories, including consecutive starts (96, 3rd), games (129, 3rd), 3-point field goals attempted (460, 4th), minutes played (3,478, 4th), 3-point field goals (176, 5th), double-digit scoring games (80, 5th), starts (96, 6th), 3-point field goal percentage (38.3%, 7th), consecutive games (105, 7th), field goals (526, 7th), steals (109, 7th) and field goal attempts (1,160, 8th).  He ranks in the Top 20 in five Big 12 categories, including field goals (2nd), scoring (5th), minutes (7th), steals (9th) and field goal percentage (14th).  He ranks fifth in scoring in Big 12-only games, while he is sixth in minutes, seventh in field goal percentage and ninth in 3-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage and steals.

Senior Rodney McGruder was named one of 30 candidates for the 2013 Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year Award on Feb. 26 presented by AT&T and the Atlanta Tipoff Club.  McGruder becomes third Wildcat to be selected as a Top 30 candidate for the Naismith Award, joining Michael Beasley (2008) and Jacob Pullen (2010). The candidates were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances to this point in the 2012-13 season.  In late March, the Naismith Trophy voting academy will narrow down the list to four finalists.  The Naismith Player of the Year will be awarded on April 7 in Atlanta.  McGruder leads the Wildcats in six categories, including scoring (14.9 ppg.), double-digit scoring games (23), 20-point games (eight), field goals (162), rebounding (5.3 rpg.) and minutes (32.4 mpg.).  Four times he has been named the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week, winning the honor on Dec. 10 and 24, 2012 and Jan. 7 and 21. McGruder’s four Big 12 Player of the Week awards break his tie with Michael Beasley (three, 2007-08) for the most by a Wildcat in a single-season, while his five overall weekly awards (won first one as a junior) are the most-ever by a K-State player in the Big 12 era. 
Junior Shane Southwell has made quite the jump in his productivity in year three, as he is averaging 8.1 points on 44.5 percent shooting, including a 44.3 percent from 3-point range, with 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 24.6 minutes per game with 20 starts in 27 games played.  That production has been even more of factor during the team’s last 20 games (of which the team is 17-3), as he is averaging 8.8 points on 42.1 percent shooting, including 42.7 percent from 3-point range, with 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.7 minutes per game in 20 starts.  He ranks first on the team in 3-point field goals (32) and second in field goals (64) and assists (58) during this stretch, while he is third in scoring and steals. Southwell had a huge game in the win against West Virginia on Jan. 12, as he knocked down two free throws in the last 21 seconds to give the Wildcats the lead then blocked the game-winning shot with just one second left.  He first set his career-high for points (19) against No. 3/2 Kansas on Jan. 22 then matched it against Baylor on Feb. 16 on a career-best six 3-pointers.  He has now posted double-digit points 12 times in his career (10 K-State wins), including eight times this season.  He entered the 2012-13 campaign averaging just 2.5 points on 36.1 percent shooting with 2.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 14.8 minutes per game with 62 games played and 19 starts.
Sophomore Angel Rodriguez has made steady improvement from his freshman to his sophomore season, as he ranks first or second on the team in six categories, including first in assists (143) and steals (41) and second in scoring (11.2 ppg.) and double-figure scoring games (18).  He has helped the Wildcats rank first in the Big 12 in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio and second in turnover margin, while he places in the Top 10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3, 1st), assists (5.2, 3rd) and steals (1.5, 5th) and ranks second in conference-only assists (6.0), assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5) and steals (1.9) and third in free throw percentage (84.5).  He has scored in double figures 18 times, including 20-point games vs. Iowa State (20) and Baylor (22), to go with game-highs vs. Lamar (19), George Washington (17) and Gonzaga (14).  He tallied his first career double-double in Feb. 16 win over Baylor with career-bests in points (22) and assists (10). In Big 12 play, he is averaging 11.9 points, 6.0 assists and 1.9 steals in 29.5 minutes per game.  He earned Phillips 66 Big 12 co-Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career on Feb. 18 after averaging 19.5 points, 8.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals in helping K-State split games with Kansas and Baylor.

Junior Will Spradling has been a model of consistency from the free throw line, knocking down 51-of-58 opportunities, including  going 10-of-10 in the last 35 seconds in wins over Delaware, George Washington and Texas Southern.  His effort has raised his career free throw percentage to 83.8 (176-of-210), which is the second-highest in school history behind Steve Henson (90.0; 361-of-401; 1986-90).  Spradling has not only been stellar on the free throw line, but he ranks first on the team in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.7).  He also places 13th in 3-point field goals (1.5) and 14th in assists (2.6).  He ranks first on the team in 3-point field goals (43), second in assists (75) and third in scoring (8.3 ppg.) and double-digit scoring games (12), while he matched his career-high with 19 points vs. West Virginia on Feb. 18.  Since going scoreless vs. Kansas on Jan. 22, he has posted double-digit efforts at Iowa State (15), Oklahoma (12), Kansas (10) and West Virginia (19).

Sophomore Thomas Gipson has become a big presence in the paint in the last 10 games, as he is averaging 10.2 points on 57.5 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game.  His field goals (42) and rebounds are second and his scoring average third in that span behind only Rodney McGruder and Angel Rodriguez.  He has scored in double figures in six of the 10 games, including a game-high 20 points vs. Texas Tech on Feb. 25 to go with a team-high eight rebounds in 28 minutes.  Gipson, who had come off the bench in eight straight games before earning the start, posted his individual high in a Big 12 game vs. the Red Raiders, eclipsing his 17 points vs. Texas on Jan. 30.  For the season, Gipson is tops in field goal percentage (50.9), second in rebounding (5.3 rpg.) and third in field goals (87) and double-digit scoring games (12). Before the start of the 10-game streak, he was averaging 4.7 points on 45.5 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 16.0 minutes per game in Big 12 play.   

Senior Martavious Irving has provided a scoring lift from the bench of late, posting double figures in three consecutive games (Feb. 2-9) to go with an 11-point effort at Baylor.  He scored 10 points in the two road wins at Oklahoma and Texas Tech to go with another 10 vs. Iowa State on Feb. 9.  In the last 10 games, he is averaging 5.7 points on 41.7 percent shooting, including a team-best 54.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc with 13 3-pointers, in 20.1 minutes per game.  Although his numbers aren’t high enough for Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year mention, he has still been one of the major factors for the team’s success with averages of 4.6 points, 2.1 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.  He is one of five players with 20+ 3-pointers.

After playing in just 15 games his first season (including a medical redshirt in 2010-11), sophomore Nino Williams has emerged as an impact player for K-State.  He has played in 28 of 29 games with 11 starts, averaging 4.8 points on 47.9 percent shooting with 3.5 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game.  He had career week in wins vs. South Dakota and No. 22/21 Oklahoma State in January, in which, he averaged 16.5 points on 66.7 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game.  With the emergence of Shane Southwell in the four-guard offense, Williams playing time has diminished, where he is averaging 4.6 points and 3.1 rebounds in 13.2 minutes per game.  However, he has come through in a big way in recent wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech.  He scored 13 points against the Mountaineers on 6-of-8 field goals with five rebounds in 23 minutes before scoring 11 points against the Red Raiders on 5-of-8 field goals and seven rebounds.  He scored all 11 of his points vs. Texas Tech in a near four-minute span in the second half, in which, the Wildcats went from being down two points to taking a six-point lead.

UP NEXT: AT 13/14 OKLAHOMA STATE (22-6, 12-4 Big 12)
K-State concludes the regular season on Saturday with a trip to No. 13/14 Oklahoma State (22-6, 12-4 Big 12) at 12:30 p.m.